U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is bolstering his home-field advantage with fewer than three weeks until the Texas primary, unveiling a raft of new endorsements from lawmakers in Austin and detailing his organization across the state for the March 1 nominating contest.
Cruz's presidential campaign announced Thursday that he now has the support of nearly half the Republicans in the Texas Legislature: 11 senators and 43 representatives. The newly expanded Texas Leadership Team also includes 57 chairs and co-chairs covering Texas' 36 congressional districts, as well as 462 chairs and co-chairs across the state's 254 counties.
"Conservatives in Texas have coalesced behind our campaign ahead of the March 1 Primary," Cruz said in a news release. "Our leadership team in Texas has continued to expand daily, and I’m proud of the tremendous support we’ve received from grassroots activists, elected officials, Republican women, Tea Party groups, Libertarian Republicans, and men and women from all across the Republican Party in Texas. I look forward to working together with these leaders all across the Lone Star state to be very competitive on March 1."
Cruz's campaign initially rolled out the endorsements of 41 state lawmakers in September. Since then, six more state senators and seven more state representatives have thrown their support behind Cruz. On the Senate side, the new endorsers are Charles Perry of Lubbock, Charles Schwertner of Georgetown, Paul Bettencourt of Houston, Donna Campbell of New Braunfels, Don Huffines of Dallas and Craig Estes of Wichita Falls. In the House, Cruz's latest backers are Phil King of Weatherford, Dustin Burrows of Lubbock, Ron Simmons of Carrollton, Scott Sanford of McKinney, Drew Springer of Muenster, Dwayne Bohac of Houston and Jonathan Stickland of Bedford.
Cruz's campaign is also claiming the support of almost half the members of the State Republican Executive Committee, the governing body of the Republican Party of Texas. Twenty-seven of its 61 sitting members are now backing the senator.
Cruz's Texas Leadership Team features two coalitions, one for Republican women and the other for Tea Party activists. Both have more than 100 members, with a number of prominent activists co-chairing each.
Cruz's campaign has previously announced the endorsements of seven GOP members of Texas' congressional delegation, or about a quarter of the Republicans representing the state in Washington, D.C. It has also already secured the support of four current and past statewide officials: former Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and railroad commissioners David Porter and Ryan Sitton.
While other GOP campaigns have been busy rolling out their own endorsements here — Marco Rubio's campaign announced its own expanded Texas Leadership Team on Thursday morning — few beside Cruz's are putting numbers to their organization at the level of counties and congressional districts. Donald Trump's campaign has said it has at least one coordinator in each congressional district and a chair in the 50-plus counties that comprise 70 to 80 percent of the primary electorate.